September 15, 2012
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti played Webster Hall
Ariel Marcus Rosenberg (not to be confused with yours truly) led his band of merry pranksters through a sideshow performance that highlighted his excellent new album Mature Themes. Pink kicked off the evening with "Symphony of the Nymph" which included snippets of "Love Me Do" and then jammed through album highlights "Mature Themes" and the psychedelic guitar riffed "Only in My Dreams". Haunted Graffiti were locked in rhythm and did an excellent job catering to Ariel's typical stage antics which included attempts to swallow the microphone, dangling the mic in front of speakers for feedback, and using the mic as a mallet to smack various objects on stage (including R. Stevie Moore's beard which was dyed Smurf blue). The letters A P H G, which were assembled from PVC piping and strung with Christmas lights, acted as the backdrop for the show along with some of the most strange and sensational videos I've seen in quite some time. Kaleidoscopes of tongues, porn/MySpace pictures, and the faces of various celebrity which women morphed into each other (ala the end of Michael Jackson's epic "Black or White" music video) during "Menopause Man". After his past two releases, Ariel Pink has been idolized as a new studio genius, a man able to make outstanding records that act as some of the finest tributes to the 60s and 70s, or pop music in general (I cant think of another pop singer named Pink with similar color hair!) in recent memory. His ability to recreate warm A.M. pop tunes is unlike that of anyone else, and yet while his band does an unquestionably great job of making these tracks sound stunning live, you still have to wonder how much Ariel Pink enjoys performing. With his near infamous Coachella meltdown behind him, he still doesn't make much effort to woo the crowd (example: not playing the hit "Round and Round") and one may wonder if his confidence exists outside the recording booth. While those thoughts lingered, the man still put on an entertaining show. His face grimaced and contorted to make all of those bizarre vocals, he pranced around the stage smoking cigarettes, and for a guy that his a song entitled "Schnitzel Boogie", what other kind of live show should one really expect?